Friday Night's the Only Chance to Woo LeBron - NBC New York

Friday Night's the Only Chance to Woo LeBron

King James's only visit to MSG comes at an opportune time



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    After the Cavaliers lost to the Bulls in Cleveland on Thursday night, reporters asked LeBron James if he would be attending the Yankees parade up Broadway on Friday. It's not a ridiculous question since the King is, after all, a Yankees fan. He said he wouldn't be, because his parade starts at 8 p.m. on Friday night at Madison Square Garden. 

    That's okay, because the Knicks are going to do everything they can to bring the parade atmosphere uptown. Bernie Williams is going to play the National Anthem on his guitar, which should get a nice pop from New Yorkers still feeling flush with pride in the Yankees, and the Yankees lovefest won't end there. It's a safe bet that a certain trophy will be in the house with a few escorts bringing it out to halfcourt during a stoppage. 

    The reaction should be quite something, especially since the fans will likely amp things up a bit to give James a taste of what it would be like to play in New York. 

    They'd better amp things up if they want to keep alive the faint hope that the King will actually sign with the Knicks before next season. Lord knows the team itself won't give him any reason to sign with them. James could go anywhere he wants and if going to a winning team is something that tickles his fancy he'll find better options elsewhere. The only thing the Knicks have going for them is the intangible of playing in New York and that's what's going to be on display in Lower Manhattan on Friday morning and afternoon. 

    Hopefully James sees some portion of it, because he's going to see another bad Knicks team on Friday night. He'll see veteran place holders launching shots, he'll see Wilson Chandler struggling to turn himself into a productive player and he'll see Danilo Gallinari holding far more of the future of the franchise than his slim shoulders may be able to manage. What he won't see, unless he stops to chat with Mike D'Antoni, is first-round pick Jordan Hill who is anchored to the bench. That's a bad sign all on its own, but when you see point guard Brandon Jennings, picked two spots after Hill, getting heaped with praise for his work with the Bucks it is a real dagger. 

    A talented point guard would look awfully swell to prospective free agents, no to mention to the fans who have stuck by this team through the Isiah years and now a year-plus of Donnie Walsh's steadfast efforts to do nothing about winning games in the short term because of promises about the future. James is that promise, and he'll get the fans' best efforts on Friday night but it's still unclear that Walsh and D'Antoni have done their part.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for